Blue Horizon

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For other uses, see Blue Horizon (disambiguation).

Blue Horizon Records was a British blues independent record label, founded by Mike Vernon and Neil Slaven in 1965, as an adjunct to their fanzine, R&B Monthly,[1][2] and was the foremost label at the time of the British Blues boom in the mid to late 1960s.

History[edit]

Blue Horizon's first release was a 45 rpm single by Hubert Sumlin, then working as Howlin' Wolf's guitarist. Other releases soon followed on the Outasite and Purdah labels, the latter of which released just four 7" singles; including "Flapjacks" by Stone's Masonry (featuring Martin Stone, later to join Savoy Brown and Mighty Baby); and another by John Mayall and Eric Clapton "Bernard Jenkins", and "Lonely Years".[3] Only 99 copies of each are thought to have been pressed - limited originally to avoid purchase tax - although it has also been said that the number was as high as 1000.

45 rpm releases continued on the Blue Horizon label, generally reissues of rare and hard-to-find singles from a handful of American blues musicians, although two releases — one by guitarist J.B. Lenoir, and another, by Champion Jack Dupree and British guitarist Tony McPhee — presented new material. Blue Horizon's first LP was by one-man band Doctor Ross, recorded in a London hotel room while he was on tour with the 1965 American Folk Blues Festival.[4] A world-wide licensing and distribution deal with CBS, reached late in 1967, heralded the glory years of the label. Starting with two 7" singles with combined CBS/Blue Horizon stamps featuring Peter Greens Fleetwood Mac and Aynsley Dunbars Retaliation there followed a string of singles and albums by both British and U.S. blues artists, both licensed and newly recorded. Some releases featured Mike Vernon produced recordings of U.S. artists such as Otis Spann and Champion Jack Dupree, backed by British blues players including Peter Green, Rory Gallagher, Paul Kossoff, Stan Webb and Pete Wingfield. Other UK artists signed to the label included Chicken Shack, Duster Bennett, Gordon Smith, Jellybread and Christine Perfect (later to be Christine McVie).

The label produced chart hit singles for Fleetwood Mac "Need Your Love So Bad" "Black Magic Woman" and the number 1 "Albatross" and Chicken Shack "I'd Rather Go Blind " and a string of albums in imaginative sleeves mostly designed by Terence Ibbott. The distinctive blue label singles eventually gave way to red and then no-centre white labels as the blues boom died away, although further chart success was had with Dutch band Focus - "Hocus Pocus" reaching the UK top 20. The label ceased production in the early 1970s but all its titles are collectible today. Later vinyl re-releases by Sire Records in the US kept interest alive but CD reissues were limited until Vernon himself re-emerged in the 21st century to remaster the best material and do justice to the Blue Horizon legacy.[original research?]

In 2010, it was reported that the label would be reactivated by Seymour Stein and Richard Gottehrer, whom with Mike and Richard Vernon were the US and UK directors of Blue Horizon Records, although it would not have access to the original catalogue.........in 2012 Tank Full Of Blues by Dion was issued.

On 12 June 2012, BBC Radio 4 broadcast Cerys Matthews' Blue Horizon, a documentary about Blue Horizon Records.

The label is lampooned by The Liverpool Scene with their song "I've Got Those Fleetwood Mac, Chicken Shack, John Mayall Can't Fail Blues"

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Classic blues label Blue Horizon to be revived". BBC News. 2010-01-26. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  2. ^ Mike Vernon, The Blue Horizon story 1965-1970 vol.1, notes of the booklet of the Box Set (60 pages)
  3. ^ Mike Vernon, The Blue Horizon story 1965-1970 vol.1, notes of the booklet of the Box Set (60 pages)
  4. ^ Wirz, Stefan. Illustrated Blue Horizon Records Discography. Retrieved 2016-12-17. http://www.wirz.de/music/blhorfrm.htm. This was later reissued by Xtra/Transatlantic, and was also issued on CD by Orbis in 1997. A limited-edition CD also appeared on the Blue Horizon imprint in 2000

External links[edit]